Friday, October 15, 2010

He Knew Me Best

  My parents used to take my brother and me on long road trips. We headed off to Canada one summer when I was ten years old to visit our relatives in Alberta. It was a long trip in to a foreign country but for the most part looking back it looked like Washington State.
  We would take the camper and drive until my dad would get tired and stop for the night. Along the way, we stopped at radium hot springs for the day. It was magical place the water was hot as the name implied but there was something more about the place. I remember the scenery and the people. In the states we are pushy, people get onto the city pool and stake a claim on an area and give stern looks to people who cross into their cordoned off space.
  In Canada, people are not rude and tend to get along with each other. At radium, people were relaxed and helpful, even more than the norm for Canada. Before we went in we stopped at a view point that over looked the pool with my dad. He looked down at the large pool and pointed to the very high diving board. It must have been 10 meters. "Now James, I don't think you should jump off that board, it is too tall for you.” I remember his voice as it was yesterday.
  Anyone that knows me, knows I don't like heights and spiders, we can't forget the spiders. But heights bother me. I don't like to climb on top of roofs or hang from cliffs. I am will do it, just avoid it if
I can.
  Lee and I departed my father and went swimming in the community pool, while my parents went off to the adult, no kids allowed, quiet place for meditation and relaxation pool. Not sure if all that was in the title but I remember my mother telling us about it and why couldn’t go with them. The temperature was moderate and the sky was clear. We played most of the day. I used the small diving board off and on all day, but there was something about that ten meter board.
  A few minutes before the swim session ended I climbed to the top of that board. I could feel my heart beat as I step to the edge and look down. At that point, I almost climbed back down. Mustering the courage I stepped off the end. It wasn't like the high board at my swimming pool back home. As I fell, I had time to think. I remember my short little life flashing before me and saying to myself, "this was a bad idea.”

  I hit the water and I remember my feet burning. I was out and in the locker room in less than a minute, toweled dried, dressed and up the stairs. Dad was there and he walked my brother and me out to the camper. We didn’t stay a second day we were back on the road before night fall.
  Months later, he showed me the pictures that he took of the little boy jumping from the high board. I told him I was sorry. But he looked at me and said, "That is why I told you not to. I knew you would jump, if you had the right kind of motivation."
  He knew his son and waited at that spot over looking the pool. I am not even sure if he got wet that day. I miss him because he knew me best.

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